Baingan Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Curry)

[image: baingan bharta over rice]
[image: baingan bharta over rice]

If you are familiar with how baingan bharta is supposed to look, you may be taken aback by the above photo. I had found a recipe where you made the curry, then turned it into a dip. I did this so I’d have a good bread dipping appetizer for my Lady Evening with Lydia last week. It still tasted good over rice after the dip transformation, though.

Recipe originally from The ABCD’s of Cooking, tweaked a bit so I didn’t have to go to the store.

1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound
1 onion
3 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-oz. can chopped tomatoes, undrained
2 small chili peppers (an Indian variety would be best, I used my SUPER CHILIS because I still have them in the freezer from last year and they’re still hella potent), chopped if you like spice, halved if you don’t
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat oven to 400. Poke holes in eggplant with a fork, then wrap in foil and roast for an hour. Set aside to cool a bit. When you can handle it, cut in half and scoop out the flesh. Mash with a fork and set aside.

Puree the onion in a blender.

Heat oil over medium heat. Add turmeric, coriander, cumin, and garam masala and bloom in the oil for a minute. Add the onion puree and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir until it’s reduced to sort of a pumpkin puree-level of consistency. Add the whole can of tomatoes, chili peppers, and lemon zest. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and turn the heat to low. Stir and partially cover the pot. Let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the lemon juice and add salt to taste. (If you went the halved chili route, fish them out now and discard.) Serve over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Puree curry in a blender with 1 Tbsp tahini and 3 Tbsp plain yogurt. Serve warm with cilantro garnish and your grain-based or vegetable choice of dipping matter.


[image: bowl of mujaddara]
[image: bowl of mujaddara]

This is a follow-up to my mujaddara post from last year. I think I’ve found a version I like. I found out that I was sort of wrong about the original dish from Mediterranean Grill House. I took a look at the menu on their website, and it’s listed there as “Mujaddarah – Kushari.”

Kushari is an Egyptian dish which, like mujaddara, involves rice, lentils, and onions. However, it also contains macaroni, which was the mystery addition in MGH’s dish. So it’s more like a combination of the two? No vinegary tomato sauce, though (but I always dumped a ton of their hot sauce on top). The bright yellow I haven’t really found in any variation of either recipe. I added some turmeric to mine, but I think in order to get it the right shade, I’d need to add a bunch more to the rice as it’s cooking, and not just in the spiced oil.

(This is not a traditional recipe, just FYI. Also this particular method uses way too many dishes.)

1.5 cups long-grain white rice (I like jasmine)
1 cup brown lentils
2 onions, sliced into half-moons
vegetable oil
kosher salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
plain greek yogurt or sour cream, to serve
lemon juice, to serve

Cook the rice using your preferred method—stovetop, rice cooker, whatever. But for me, it’s the oven. In a 8×8 baking dish rubbed with a skosh of butter or oil, put 1.5 cups of rice, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 2 1/3 cup boiling water. Stir, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 1 hour at 375. Remove from oven, fluff with a fork, and set aside while other things are finishing.

(p.s. this method is amazing for brown rice and farro)

Cook the lentils on the stovetop in 4 cups of water until tender, 20–25 minutes.

In a pot that will be large enough to hold all the ingredients eventually, splash a bit of oil and add the onions and some salt. Over medium-low to medium heat, caramelize the onions. This will take a while. Add a sprinkle of sugar if you get impatient.

In a little pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the cumin, turmeric, paprika, allspice, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Stir to combine over medium-low heat. Once the smell gets really potent and the oil starts to bubble around the edges a bit, remove from heat.

Stir the oil into the onions. Add the lentils and rice and mix everything together.

Serve with yogurt or sour cream, lemon juice, and an extra little sprinkle of salt. (If you want to make this vegan, just leave out the dairy garnish.)

Buttermilk Curry

[image: curry over rice]
[image: curry over rice]

I had half a carton of buttermilk left after making another recipe (which I haven’t posted here yet). I was looking through my old recipes, trying to find something that wasn’t sweet. I saw Murgh Dehin and was like aha! Curry. I wanted to make something new—as well as something with fewer ingredients—so I did some internetting and combined a few recipes to come up with this. It’s a thin curry, so serving with rice is important.

EDIT: this recipe has been updated as of October 24, 2016

1 Tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 scallions, chopped into 1-inch pieces (EDIT: 4 scallions)
2 cloves garlic, minced (EDIT: 3 cloves)
2 small green chilis, minced (I used my SUPER CHILIS, serranos would also work)
(EDIT: 1 additional pepper, either chili peppers of the mild Anaheim/Pasilla variety or a bell pepper, chopped)
1 lb small pieces of meat (see note below)
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (EDIT: 3/4 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup sour cream)
salt, to taste
2-3 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Note: One of the recipes I found called for ground lamb, which was stupidly expensive at the store. I ended up buying a pound of “stir-fry/fajita” pork. I think chicken would also work in similarly-sized small bits. (EDIT: I buy two boneless pork chops and slice them into bite-sized pieces, it’s cheaper for me that way.)

Heat oil over medium high. When it is hot, add mustard seeds. Cover (they’ll fly everywhere otherwise) and shake pan as they pop.

Add cumin and turmeric and stir for a minute. Lower heat to medium and add green onions, garlic, and chili. Cook until softened.

Add meat. Stir until cooked through, about 10 minutes (at least it was for the pork).

Reduce heat to low and stir in buttermilk. Bring up to temperature, but do not let boil (maybe about 5 minutes over low/medium-low). Add salt to taste. Finish by stirring in cilantro and serve over rice.

Vegetable Pullao

from Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

15 fl. oz. long-grain rice
2 pints and 1 pint water
4 oz. potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 oz. fresh green beans, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 fresh hot green chile pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 clove garlic, minced or put through a press

Put the rice in a bowl and wash in several changes of water. Drain. Add 2 pints of water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Drain and leave in a sieve for 20 minutes.

Choose a large, heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid. Put 2-4 tablespoons of oil in the pan. When hot, add the cumin seeds, and let them sizzle for 5-10 seconds. Then, add the potato, carrot, and green beans. Stir and saute for a minute. Turn the heat to medium-low anmd add the drained rice, salt, turmeric, ground cumin, coriander, cayenne, green chile pepper, cilantro, ginger, and garlic. Stir and saute the rice for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 pint of water and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, turn the heat to very, very low, and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the heart and let the pan sit, covered and undisturbed, for another 10 minutes.

Tomato Sauce with Eggplant

Olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into roughly 1-cm cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
1/4 cup red wine
1 28-oz. can Trader Joe’s whole peeled plum tomatoes with basil, undrained
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Pinch cumin
Pinch sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated parmesan and chopped fresh parsley, to serve

Salt the chopped eggplant liberally and place in a colander. Allow to sit for a half hour, then dry with a paper towel. Set a large saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. When hot, add the eggplant and cook, stirring, until the pieces have softened and taken on some color, 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan.

If the pan is looking dry, add some more oil. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the pieces have turned translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about thirty seconds to a minute, being careful not to burn it. Add the wine and scrape up any fond from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomatoes and all the sauce from the can. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes. Return the eggplant to the pan. Add the spices. Simmer for ten minutes or up to an hour or until however long it takes you to get the pasta done (could be no time at all if you timed it well, however, taking a little simmer time to let the flavors meld is always a good idea). Serve atop pasta with parmesan and parsley.

Khatte Chhole (sour chickpeas)

From Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

12 oz. dried chickpeas, picked over and rinsed
3 pints water
10-11 oz. onions, finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 hot green chile, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, very finely grated
4 Tbsp lemon juice
3-6 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz. tomatoes, finely chopped (or a drained 15-oz. can of chopped tomatoes)
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Soak the chickpeas overnight. Pour the beans and their soaking liquid into a large pan and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are tender. Strain the chickpeas and save the cooking liquid.

Put 2 tablespoons of the chopped onions, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the green chile, ginger, and the lemon juice into a teacup. Mix well and set aside.

Put the oil in a heavy, wide, casserole-type pan and set over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the remaining chopped onions. Stir and fry for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions bits develop reddish-0brown spots. Add the tomatoes. Continue to stir and fry for another 5-6 minutes, mashing the tomato pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Next, add the drained chickpeas along with 14 fluid ounces of their cooking liquid, plus the garam masala, cayenne pepper, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook very gently for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Add the mixture in the teacup. Stir to combine, and serve. (Good with rice.)

Aloo Matar (Potato and Pea Curry)

2–4 Tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
Pinch of punch-phoron seeds*
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (or use a drained can of same)
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4–1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala
2 cups fresh (or frozen, really) green peas
1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) coconut milk or warm water
3–4 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/8 tsp paprika

*Punch-phoron is a mixture of five whole spices mixed in equal proportions- cumin, black cumin, mustard, fenugreek, and fennel. I think I used cumin, fennel, and coriander (mistakenly), because those were the only ones I had in whole form.

Heat vegetable oil or ghee in a large saucepan. Fry punch-phoron seeds, bay leaf, ginger, and onion for 3 minutes. Add potatoes and continue cooking another 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, salt, ground cumin, coriander, cayenne, turmeric, garam masala, and peas and cook for another 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and boil rapidly for 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to a bare simmer, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cilantro and paprika.